Sunday, February 17, 2013

Second Sunday in Lent - C

Texts:  Genesis 15:1-12, 17-19; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17 – 4:1; Luke 13:31-35

Call to Worship
How are we to know we are loved by God, as deeply as Sarah and Abraham were?
At the center of the covenant is God's promise, as well as God's honor.

How are we to know that when we cry out to God, that we will be heard?
At the center of our relationship with God is love and trust.

How are we to trust that what people like Paul and Jesus tell us is true?
At the center of Scripture we find God, full of grace and wonder.

Prayer of the Day
One thing we ask of you,
Sheltering God:
that when we are afraid
     you would bring us into your heart;
that when we lose our way,
     you would give us gentle guides;
that when we cry out to you,
     you would grace us with your presence.

One thing we ask of you,
Mothering Christ:
that you gather up our doubts
     and transform them into confidence;
that you surround our fears
     and transform them into faithfulness;
that you pick up our broken lives
     and transform us into your body.

One thing we ask of you,
Spirit of Light:
that you hold so fast to us,
     we can stand firm in the Lord;
that you stick by us
     so we can wait for the Lord
     through the long hours of life;
that you fill us with your gifts,
     so we can see the goodness
     of the One who comes.

One thing we ask of you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
that you hear us as we pray, as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

In the moments when no one else will look at us, God's face is turned towards us full of love and hope.  God does not recoil in horror from our words or actions but, with forgiveness and grace, gathers us up as beloved children, touching us with healing power, so we might turn to face all we have hurt.  Let us trust such a God as we offer our prayers of confession, saying together,

Unison Prayer of Confession
   Refuge of our hearts, we must admit that all too often you are not the center of our lives.  We find shelter in all the false securities the world offers, rather than grounding ourselves in your promises. Our emotions drive our fears, and so we end up making foolish choices,
rather than being guided by your word and heart. We turn to the politicians, the celebrities, the commentators to give us guidelines for living, rather than following the One who comes in your name.
   We ask one thing of you, our God, that you not hide your face from us, but turn to us with forgiveness and hope. Be gracious to us, so we might share such grace with those around us. Fill our emptiness with your love, so we might become more loving. Open
our hearts, as well as our eyes, to see the One who comes to gather us up and lead us into your kingdom, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is that at the very moment we discover that the temptations of the world provide no true home for us, we find God sheltering us with love, with grace, with joy.
Gathered up in God's grace, we become forgiven and whole. We can lift glad songs of joy to the One who makes us new. Thanks be to God! Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May God be with you.
And also with you.

Beloved of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who knows us and loves us.

Beloved of God, give thanks to our God.
It is right to give both thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you praise,
Star Maker.
From the depths of the terror of chaos,
you created all that is beautiful and good.
Our grandparents in the faith
could have contemplated the heavens,
     but gazed instead into
     the shadowed corners of the world,
     choosing rebellion, sin and death.
You sent prophets to call us back
into your glory and grace,
     but we ignored their witness,
     scoffing at their words.
Yet you would not let us remain broken,
but sent the Bread which could make us whole.

Therefore we gladly join our voices
with the songs of your people
in both heaven and on earth:

Holy, holy, holy, God our Light, our Salvation.
All creation beholds your glory and beauty.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of Grace,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Choosing to leave the shelter of heaven,
     he comes to gather us into your kingdom.
sharing our life in every way,
     he knows our struggles and our doubts;
taking the weight of sin upon his shoulders,
     he carries us into the joy of your grace;
broken and dying for our sake,
     he delivers us from sin and death,
          creating the new covenant of your heart.

As we remember his life, his death, his rising,
we would proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Dying, Christ believed God's word;
rising, Christ finished his work;
returning, Christ will gather us together in glory.

God of mystery:
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and on the bread we break
and the cup we share.
Make us one with the Risen Christ
and send us forth to be
     sisters and brothers to the world.
Calm the worries and fears of our hearts,
     so we might be bearers of your peace;
fill our emptiness with the Bread of life,
     so we might feed the hungry around us;
cool our thirst with the cup of grace,
     so we might reach out to all
     who travel through the desert of life;
walk with us through the streets of the kingdom,
     until we reach our journey's end,
seated around the Table you have prepared
for the redeemed of every time and place.

Then we will merge our shouts of joy
with those who have modeled for us
trust and obedience in you,
singing our praise to you, God of the Covenant,
through Jesus Christ, our joy and crown,
and in the oneness of the Holy Sprit,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman